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March 4, 2014 1:41 PM

"Bean" is an adored 14 year old Yorkshire terrier that recently became suddenly quadriplegic, much to the distress of her owner, Joanna. Jo found a Specilaist Vet, Kate Heading, at Melbourne Veterinary Specilaist Centre, that after thorough investigation, diagnosed Coon Hound Disease. The differential diagnoses included Tick and Snake bite and spinal cord disease. 

Coon Hound Disease is much more common in USA than Australia, thanks to the presence of racoons in USA ,who can pass the disease on to dogs via their saliva. But it can also be caught by dogs who have no contact with racoons. We'll leave the etiology here, as there is  still much that is unknown about the mode of spread of the disease.

Bean initially lost control of her voice, her hind limbs and then her front limbs and trunk/head and neck. Bean stopped eating and there was a fear that she would stop breathing. Luckily and with great nursing and Veterinary care, Bean survived this initial grave period. Jo was feeding Bean by syringing highly nutritious liquids onto her tongue and waiting for the slight swallowing reflex that Bean had left to ensure she did not drown in her food. Great patience was needed.

When All Animal Physio was called, Bean was lying on her side and was quadriplegic. She was unable to sit up or stand. Using Neurological Physiotherapy techniques, we were able to encourage head, neck and trunk muscles to do thier jobs. Electrical stimulation showed that the motor nerves to the limbs were still intact and we re-inforced their action with electrical treatment. Teaching Jo how to do the Physio with Bean led to a committed owner response. Jo's diligence paid off.

By the second Physio visit, Bean was able to sit up and had regained some control of her front limbs. Physio at this stage incorporated Functional Exercises to enhance rolling, change of position, sitting and standing to allow Bean to regain some level of independence. Hydrotherapy assisted all four limb action. Yes, the hind limbs were starting to move ever so slightly. But Bean needed to eat and drink, if she were to have the energy for the Physio program to take her to recovery.

Once again Jo showed her determination and commitment to her darling Bean. She tried all sorts of food in her efforts to get Bean to eat, even buying a luxury dog cookbook! Actually, what tempted Bean's appetite most was BBQ chicken, which Jo indulged Bean with, in her efforts to get the little dog gaining, instead of losing, weight..
As Bean started to eat and drink a little with Jo's nurturing, physical recovery progressed. Harnessing this progress for assisted walking with fore and hindlimb harnesses was the next step and Bean showed great spirit taking her 1st few steps. The smiles from Jo and her husband Dean said it all! There is still much to be done, but as I left after the third visit, I could hear Bean "quackin" as jo called it - not really  barking yet, but some voice control was coming back and Bean was just telling Jo not to be too long at the door with me - she wanted her mistress back.
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